Getting businesses back on their feet, in the new normal

June 19, 2020
Lily-Rae Hewitt Jasilek

As we begin to take stock of the economic damage caused by coronavirus it is a sobering thought that many businesses around the UK and worldwide, which only a few months ago were thriving and prosperous, are now struggling to survive.

We say ‘normal’, but that word doesn’t apply in most cases. Precautions need to be put in place for a start, to protect staff and customers alike. Change has arrived, but will also continue to develop in the coming weeks and months. Whether you’re a decision-maker at a large corporation or a small independent retail shop —let’s explore the models for innovation to help you move your business through the pandemic.

Why is being online so important?

In the digital age, it is absolutely essential for your business to have an online presence. Whether it’s a website, an e-commerce platform, a social media page or a combination of all three, getting your company online will reap major benefits. Online marketing is extremely important for all businesses because it has a huge influence on the way consumers make purchasing decisions. Even if your company does not conduct business online, customers and potential customers are expecting to see you online. If they don’t see you there, you could be losing out on the opportunity to increase your customer base and get the word out about your business.

Set your website strategy to build for success  

To develop goals for your website, you need to consider what you want your website to accomplish. Take a few minutes to think about the areas in which your business is successful, where it is lacking, and what you want this marketing tool to do for you. Consider your target audience at all times: What would they be interested in seeing?

Key features of a website:

  • A clear call to action
  • Business Story
  • Mobile and computer-friendly
  • A simple layout

Being seen online

Have you ever checked the ratings or times of a film screening online? Have you looked up reviews for local restaurants? Have you wondered where to buy that special ingredient for your new recipe? If you are a business owner, your customers are doing the exact same thing.

A whopping 87% of people use Google to search and an even bigger 88% of people who search for specific businesses call in the first 24 hours. So it’s imperative that you put a few things in place to ensure that they find you.

  • Show up on relevant search queries on Google
  • Link existing booking systems to your Google My Business account
  • Keep customers updated on working hours
  • Improve your web visibility with analytics (Keywords help search engines connect people to your website)

Not only will you improve your business’s visibility but you’ll also have some great opportunities to talk to all your customers. Got some new products? Received some great feedback from a customer? Being online gives you a great platform to shout about your business through a variety of channels, tools and techniques, not all of which require a hefty budget.

Engaging with customers online

Social media is ‘social’ because it’s about socialising and communicating- so make the most of this! Get conversations going, which will, in turn, increase awareness of your brand. Social media is a great tool to raise brand awareness and engage with customers, and getting set up is free – you’ll only need a budget if you venture into advertising.

Use your social media to reconnect and engage with customers:
  • Stay connected while your site is closed
  • Promote your new lockdown services
  • Post about future trips that visitors may enjoy, with pictures to
  • Build trust and reassure visitors by sharing important updates about your business for when you reopen (safety updates, accessibility, events and facilities)

Start by identifying the small steps you can make to start the change, think about your customer and how you can best connect with them. Identify what you want social media to achieve for your business – after all, this will determine what follows from what you post to how often you share. Also think about how you’re going to measure these goals, for example, if your aim is to promote a product, you’ll most likely want to measure the number of sales or enquiries that come from social media.

Social media can be a sticky subject for most people. You can grow your audience if you make your content more engaging. Read our 12 tips!

Measure your online success with analytics

Success is nothing without a way to measure it.

Studying important metrics — like conversion rate, click-through rates, average time on your website, page views, and the number of visits — can provide your online business with rich information about your e-commerce features, customer behaviour, as well as what’s working and what’s missing the mark.

Measure your online media success using analytics is a way to track customer engagement and growth. You can gain insight into your audience demographic and understand who your target customers are while also finding out what attracts engagement and how people are finding your posts and account.

Get into your data to:
  • Understand what customers do on your website
  • Learn how people find your site
  • Get insight on demographics and location
  • Measure the traffic and performance of your website

Fundamentally, data-driven decision making means working towards key business goals by leveraging verified, analysed data rather than merely shooting in the dark.

Understanding Google Analytics can be a scary thought, but it doesn't have to be! Read our tips and tricks here!

Modern businesses must ensure that they are not left behind. An online presence is one of the most important investments that a business can make. The benefits are endless!

To achieve true digital adoption, decision-makers need to understand both the functionality and benefits of going digital, be fully onboarded on the features of web, social media and analytics applications and how the business can benefit from them, while also understanding the role of digital processes and the reasons behind the change.

Resilience is related to our resourcefulness. Which is another way of saying our ability to find another way to make something happen. Making the most of opportunities will be the key to the future of a resilient business.

So what are you waiting for? Put yourself in the best possible to place to get back to work by starting with a blog post for your audience: ‘Looking ahead to reopening’.

If you would like a more interactive explanation into going digital, click below to access the recording of FSB’s live-session to support small businesses: ‘Get your Business Online Ready’.

Get in touch with any feedback or let us know what barriers are stopping you and your business from getting online in the comments below!

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